Mechanical properties of human pericardium. Differences in viscoelastic response when compared with canine pericardium.
Whereas most experiments on the mechanical function of the pericardium have been performed on dogs, very little is known about the applicability of those data to humans. To examine the tensile viscoelastic properties of fresh human pericardium, we have used the methods from our previous study of canine pericardium. Although the mechanical responses of canine and human pericardium were qualitatively similar, human pericardium displayed a significantly greater viscous character. Human pericardium was 7.3 times thicker than canine pericardium, but was more extensible in stress-strain tests, with lower stiffness at a given strain. The static (elastic) stiffness of human pericardium seems identical to that of canine pericardium; lower stiffness per unit thickness of the human tissue at predicted physiological stresses was almost exactly compensated by the greater wall thickness. This effect was also seen in data on fracture strength and stiffness. However, human pericardium displayed greater viscous responses than the canine tissue. This was seen in doubled cyclic hysteresis losses, and greater stress relaxation and creep. Our results suggest that experiments on the viscoelastic properties of canine pericardium may not be directly applicable to humans, especially where dynamic mechanical properties are most important: i.e., in studies of ventricular function and the time-course of pericardial effusions.
- Copyright © 1985 by American Heart Association